Lombardy, Italy wine region

If you’re a wine lover and looking for an unforgettable travel experience, the Lombardy wine region is the perfect destination for you. Situated in northern Italy, the Lombardy wine region is home to some of the country’s most famous wines, including Franciacorta and Valtellina Superiore. 

Lombardy’s winemaking tradition dates back centuries, with vineyards scattered throughout picturesque landscapes that offer breathtaking views. So, whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or simply enjoy a good glass of wine, a trip to the Lombardy wine region is sure to be an unforgettable experience filled with delicious wines, stunning scenery, and warm hospitality. 

In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about planning your own Lombardy wine-tasting trip.

Lombardy wine region highlights:
  • Romantic and historic, with art museums and other cultural wonders.
  • Full of picturesque architecture.
  • Located near the alps (and all of the amazing scenery that accompanies these mountains). 

Overview of the Lombardy wine region

The Lombardy Wine Region is a vast area stretching from the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the peaks of the Alps in Switzerland. It is one of the most renowned wine-producing regions in the world-famous wine country of Italy and its wineries produce some of the finest and oldest wines in the world. 

Lombardy is also known for its rich cultural and artistic heritage, as well as its diverse landscape, which includes the Italian Alps, the Po Valley, and the Lakes District. It is also home to several major industrial and commercial centers.

Lombardy wine map

The Lombardy Wine Region is a vast area stretching from the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the peaks of the Alps in Switzerland. It is one of the most renowned wine-producing regions in the world-famous wine country of Italy and its wineries produce some of the finest and oldest wines in the world. 

Lombardy is also known for its rich cultural and artistic heritage, as well as its diverse landscape, which includes the Italian Alps, the Po Valley, and the Lakes District. It is also home to several major industrial and commercial centers.

Cities to visit in Lombardy wine region

Lombardy is a wonderful region of Italy with many cities to explore. The Lombardy wine region is known for producing a variety of high-quality wines, including the famous sparkling wine Franciacorta, which is made using the traditional method like Champagne, and is often compared to its French counterpart. Lombardy is also known for producing excellent red wines, such as the Valtellina Superiore, made from Nebbiolo grapes grown in the Alpine foothills, and the Garda Classico, a blend of Groppello, Marzemino, and Barbera grapes grown around Lake Garda. Here are some of the best cities to explore to start your wine journey:

  1. Milan – Not only is Milan the fashion capital of Italy, but it’s also home to the famous Franciacorta wine region.
  2. Bergamo – This charming city is surrounded by the beautiful vineyards of the Valcalepio wine region, where you can taste excellent red and white wines.
  3. Brescia – Brescia is located near the renowned Franciacorta wine region and is a great starting point for wine tours and tastings.
  4. Mantua – This Renaissance city is known for its excellent red wines, such as the Lambrusco Mantovano.
  5. Sirmione – Located on the shores of Lake Garda, Sirmione is a beautiful city known for its white Lugana wines.

If you’re looking to explore Lombardy and taste some of Italy’s finest wines, these cities are a must-visit!

Unique places to visit in the Lombardy wine region

Here are a few unique places to visit when wine tasting in Lombardy

Lombardy is a region in northern Italy that is home to a variety of unique and interesting places to visit. Here are a few suggestions for unique places to visit in Lombardy:

Sforza Castle

The Sforza Castle is a magnificent fortress located in the center of Milan, Italy. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, and it has played a key role in the city’s history.

The castle is a complex of buildings that includes several museums, such as the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Musical Instruments and the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco. These museums house a rich collection of artworks, sculptures, and artifacts from various periods of history, which offer visitors an opportunity to learn about the city’s cultural heritage. The castle is also home to the Biblioteca Trivulziana, a library that contains a rich collection of manuscripts, books and documents from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

The Sforza Castle is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Milan. The castle’s impressive architecture and rich history make it one of the most important cultural landmarks in the city.

Lake Como

Located in the northern part of the region, Lake Como is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful landscapes and luxurious villas. The lake is surrounded by picturesque towns and villages, such as Bellagio and Varenna, and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including boating, hiking, and cycling.

The Brera Art Gallery

Located in Milan, the Brera Art Gallery is one of Italy’s most important art museums and is home to a collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art from the 13th to the 20th centuries. The museum is housed in a former Dominican monastery and features works by artists such as Caravaggio, Botticelli, and Titian.

The Navigli District

Located in Milan, the Navigli District is a lively neighborhood known for its canals, art galleries, and nightlife. The district is home to a number of bars, restaurants, and boutiques, and is a popular destination for shopping and dining.

The Rock Engravings of the Camonica Valley

Located in the province of Brescia, the Rock Engravings of the Camonica Valley are a series of prehistoric rock carvings that depict animals, human figures, and other motifs. The engravings are considered a unique cultural and artistic heritage and are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

Located in Milan, the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is a historic church that dates back to the 4th century. The basilica is known for its Romanesque architecture and is home to several important works of art, including a 7th-century mosaic of the Virgin Mary.

Popular wines of Lombardy

Wine tasting in Lombardy is perfect for people who value complexity and distinct flavor profiles for their wines. From crisp whites to robust reds, to distinctive sparkling wines, there is something for everyone in this diverse region of Italy. With the perfect food pairing, any of these wines will shine and make for a truly memorable experience.

Gewürztraminer

When it comes to white wines, Lombardy is best known for its Gewürztraminer. This variety has intense aromas of lychee, spice, and rose petal, and a palate loaded with ripe tropical fruit. It is often paired with spicy dishes such as curries and vindaloo, or creamy cheeses and fish dishes. 

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a close second in popularity, with a flavor profile that includes hints of lemon, grapefruit, and melon, with a creamy finish. It pairs well with creamy sauces, seafood, and cheeses.

Nebbiolo

For red wines, the most popular variety from Lombardy is Nebbiolo. This full-bodied wine has intense aromas of roses, tar, leather, and cherries with a palate that is robust and complex. It pairs well with game dishes, heavily sauced pasta dishes, and flavorful cheeses. Another popular red from Lombardy is Barbera, known for its luscious dark fruit flavors and smoky finish. It is a great choice for pairing with grilled meats and robust cheeses.

Pinot Nero

Pinot Nero is the main grape used to make sparkling wines in Lombardy. This variety is known for its delicate aromas and flavors of peach, apple, and raspberry with a creamy finish. It pairs well with seafood dishes, salads, and creamy desserts. Pinot Grigio is also used to make sparkling wines and offers a lighter flavor profile with notes of lemongrass and citrus.

Bonarda

Bonarda is a light and fruity red wine, while Nosiola and Passito are two distinctive white wines from Valtellina. Valtellina also produces a unique fortified wine called Sfursat di Valtellina, made from dried Nebbiolo grapes.

Wine: Lombardy is also home to a number of wine-producing areas, including the Valtellina, Franciacorta, and Oltrepò Pavese regions. These areas produce a variety of red, white, and sparkling wines made from grape varieties like Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

In addition to these traditional dishes and ingredients, Lombardy is also home to several Michelin-starred restaurants that offer modern interpretations of regional cuisine. Whether you’re looking for traditional dishes or more modern culinary experiences, Lombardy has something for every taste and budget.

About Lombardy Wines: Types & Characteristics

Lombardy is a major wine-producing region in Italy and is home to several different wine appellations, or protected designations of origin (PDOs). These wines are classified based on factors such as the grape variety used, the production method, and the region of origin.

The main types of wine produced in Lombardy Include:

Sparkling wine: Lombardy is home to the Franciacorta appellation, which is known for its high-quality sparkling wine produced using the traditional method of fermentation in the bottle.

Red wine: Lombardy produces a variety of red wines, including those from the Valtellina Superiore appellation, made from the Nebbiolo grape variety, and the Oltrepo Pavese appellation, made from the Barbera grape variety.

White wine: Lombardy produces a number of white wines, including those from the Garda Classico appellation, made from the Trebbiano di Lugana grape variety, and the Oltrepo Pavese appellation, made from the Pinot Bianco grape variety.

Rosé wine: Lombardy also produces rosé wines, such as those from the Oltrepo Pavese appellation, made from the Pinot Nero grape variety.

In addition to these main categories, Lombardy produces a range of other wines, including dessert wines and fortified wines. The region is known for its high-quality and diverse wine production, with a variety of different styles to suit different tastes.

The unique geography of Lombardy lends itself to a wide range of wine styles and grapes. The region is divided into two main subregions, Valtellina in the north and Oltrepò Pavese in the south. 

For example, Valtellina is known for its crisp, aromatic whites such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay, as well as its dark, full-bodied reds like Nebbiolo and Barbera. While Oltrepò Pavese is known for its light and fruity red wines such as Barbera and Bonarda, and its sparkling wines made from Pinot Nero and Pinot Grigio grapes.

Appellations of the Lombardy wine region

In Lombardy, there are several designated appellations (also known as protected designations of origin or PDOs) for wine, cheese, and other agricultural products. These appellations are established by the European Union and are intended to protect and promote the unique characteristics of these products, which are specific to a particular region or area.

Franciacorta: a sparkling wine produced in the Franciacorta region in the province of Brescia, using the traditional method of fermentation in the bottle.

Valtellina Superiore: a red wine produced in the Valtellina valley in the province of Sondrio, made from the Nebbiolo grape variety.

Gorgonzola: a blue cheese made from cow’s milk in the province of Milan.

Grana Padano: a hard, grainy cheese made from cow’s milk in the Po Valley region, which includes parts of the provinces of Brescia, Cremona, Mantua, Milan, Pavia, and Piacenza.

Mortadella Bologna: a type of cured pork sausage made in the province of Bologna.

Parma Ham: a type of cured ham produced in the province of Parma.

Bitto Storico: a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk in the Valtellina valley in the province of Sondrio.

Bruschetta: a type of bread that is grilled or toasted and served with a variety of toppings, traditionally from the province of Brescia.

Mostarda di Cremona: a condiment made from candied fruit and a mustard-flavored syrup, traditionally from the city of Cremona in the province of Cremona.

Polenta Taragna: a type of cornmeal that is mixed with buckwheat flour and cooked into a porridge, traditionally from the Valtellina valley in the province of Sondrio.

Risotto alla Milanese: a type of rice dish made with saffron and beef broth, traditionally from the city of Milan in the province of Milan.

Salame Cremona: a type of cured pork sausage made in the city of Cremona in the province of Cremona.

Tocai Friulano: a white wine made from the Tocai Friulano grape variety in the province of Brescia.

Lombardy Wine Taste Notes & Flavors

The wines of Lombardy are known for their elegance and complexity, with a range of styles and grape varieties that produce unique flavors and aromas. The flavors and particular notes of Lombardy wines depend on the specific type of wine you’re tasting from this region. For example, Franciacorta is dry and crisp with delicate bubbles and notes of green apple, citrus, and toasted bread.

Valtellina Superiore, made from the Nebbiolo grape, has flavor notes including cherry and cranberry, along with herbal notes and a hint of spice. The mentioned and notable red wine from Lombardy, Oltrepò Pavese, is made from Barbera grapes. This wine is medium-bodied with bright acidity and flavors of blackberry, plum, and violet.

Overall, Lombardy wines are characterized by their balance between fruitiness and acidity, making them versatile food pairing options. The region’s unique terroir contributes to the diversity of styles produced here, allowing wine lovers to explore new flavors and experiences with each bottle.

Grape Varieties of Lombardy wines

Barbera: Barbera is a red grape variety that is grown extensively in the Piedmont region of Italy, particularly in the provinces of Asti, Alessandria, and Cuneo. It is known for producing medium to full-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate tannins. Barbera wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of black cherries, raspberries, and currants.

Verdicchio: Verdicchio is a white grape variety that is grown primarily in the Marche region of Italy, specifically in the provinces of Ancona and Macerata. It is known for producing medium to full-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate alcohol levels. Verdicchio wines are typically straw yellow, with flavors and aromas of green apples, citrus, and almonds.

Corvina: Corvina is a red grape variety that is grown extensively in the Veneto region of Italy, particularly in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. It is known for producing medium to full-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate tannins. Corvina wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Bonarda Piemontese: Bonarda Piemontese (also known as Bonarda Novarese) is a red grape variety that is grown in the Piedmont region of Italy, specifically in the province of Novara. It is known for producing medium to full-bodied wines with moderate acidity and tannins. Bonarda Piemontese wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Groppello: Groppello is a red grape variety that is grown in the Lombardy region of Italy, specifically in the province of Brescia. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate tannins. Groppello wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and herbs.

Vespolina: Vespolina is a red grape variety that is grown in the Lombardy region of Italy, specifically in the province of Novara. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate tannins. Vespolina wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Trebbiano: Trebbiano is a white grape variety that is grown extensively throughout Italy and is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world. It is known for producing light to medium-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate alcohol levels. Trebbiano wines are typically straw yellow, with flavors and aromas of green apples, citrus, and almonds.

Cortese: Cortese is a white grape variety that is grown primarily in the Piedmont region of Italy, specifically in the provinces of Alessandria and Asti. It is known for producing light to medium-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate alcohol levels. Cortese wines are typically straw yellow, with flavors and aromas of green apples, citrus, and herbs.

Rondinella: Rondinella is a red grape variety that is grown extensively in the Veneto region of Italy, particularly in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with moderate acidity and tannins. Rondinella wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Croatina: Croatina is a red grape variety that is grown in the Lombardy region of Italy, specifically in the province of Pavia. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with moderate acidity and tannins. Croatina wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Marzemino: Marzemino is a red grape variety that is grown in the Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige regions of Italy. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate tannins. Marzemino wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Ancellotta: Ancellotta is a red grape variety that is grown in the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions of Italy. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with moderate acidity and tannins. Ancellotta wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Fortana: Fortana is a red grape variety that is grown in the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions of Italy. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with moderate acidity and tannins. Fortana wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Garganega: Garganega is a white grape variety that is grown primarily in the Veneto region of Italy, specifically in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. It is known for producing light to medium-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate alcohol levels. Garganega wines are typically straw yellow, with flavors and aromas of green apples, citrus, and almonds.

Molinara: Molinara is a red grape variety that is grown in the Veneto region of Italy, specifically in the province of Verona. It is known for producing light to medium-bodied wines with high acidity and moderate tannins. Molinara wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Douce noir: Douce noir (also known as Croatina di Castelnuovo Don Bosco) is a red grape variety that is grown in the Piedmont region of Italy, specifically in the province of Asti. It is known for producing medium-bodied wines with moderate acidity and tannins. Douce noir wines are typically ruby red, with flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries, and spices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lombardy wine region

  • Where is Lombardy located?

    Lombardy is a region in northern Italy that is bordered by Switzerland to the north and by the regions of Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, and Veneto to the west, south, and east, respectively. The capital of Lombardy is Milan.
  • What is Lombardy known for?

    Lombardy is known for its vibrant economy, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. The region is home to several major cities, including Milan, which is known as a hub for fashion, design, and finance. Lombardy is also home to a number of wine-producing areas, including the Valtellina, Franciacorta, and Oltrepò Pavese regions, and is known for its delicious cuisine and sweet treats.
  • What are the main languages spoken in Lombardy?

    Italian is the main language spoken in Lombardy, but many people in the region also speak English, especially in the major cities and tourist areas. In some areas of the region, you may also find speakers of Lombard, a regional language that is similar to Italian but has some unique characteristics.
  • What is the climate like in Lombardy?

    Lombardy has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cool winters. The climate can vary depending on the location Considered by many to be the pinnacle of Italian winemaking, Lombardy’s wines are renowned around the world for their unique profiles and distinctive style. As the region continues to build on its long-standing tradition of producing world-class wines, it’s important to understand the grape varieties that go into creating each style of wine. Book a wine tasting or tour today, and experience all that Lombardy has to offer.

Other top wineries to visit in the Lombardy wine region